SpaceX Spacecraft Carrying Astronauts Successfully Docks At Space Station
The Dragon capsule carrying NASA astronauts has successfully docked at the International Space Station (ISS).
The SpaceX spacecraft left Earth from Florida yesterday, May 30, after the launch was postponed on Wednesday due to bad weather.
The historic event marks the first time NASA used a private company to transport one of its crews to orbit, and the mission has succeeded in getting astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS.
Elon Musk’s company SpaceX confirmed the astronauts’ arrival on Twitter, writing:
Docking confirmed – Crew Dragon has arrived at the @space_station!
NASA also celebrated the news, posting:
Dragon has docked! Crewed Dragon, with @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug on board, are connected to @Space_Station, with @NASA’s communications satellites, known as #TDRS, still providing communications to both. Satellite antenna Satellite
Next up? Hatch opening.
While they might be eager to get on board the ISS and say hello to their fellow astronauts, Behnken and Hurley will have to wait for leak and pressure checks to be completed before they can disembark.
The astronauts thanked SpaceX and NASA for a successful mission, saying:
This is an incredible time to be at NASA. We thank you again and congratulate you. Happy to be aboard.
Yesterday’s launch was the first time NASA has been able to send astronauts into space from the US since the retirement of its shuttles in 2011.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the mission had been ‘a long time coming’, adding:
It’s been nine years since we launched American astronauts, from American soil. And now it’s done.
SpaceX described the Crew Dragon capsule, also known as Demo-2, as ‘the final major test for SpaceX’s human spaceflight system to be certified by NASA for operational crew missions to and from the International Space Station’.
On their website, the company added:
SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with one of the safest, most advanced systems ever built, and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a turning point for America’s future in space exploration that lays the groundwork for future missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Confirmation of the Dragon’s attachment at the ISS came at 15:16pm BST, slightly ahead of schedule. NASA has yet to decide how long Hurley and Behnken will spend onboard the space station, though it is set to be somewhere between one and four months.
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